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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              November 29, 1996



Hoffa 96 Campaign

November 29, 1996

Page 1


James P. Hoffa

Hoffa 96

1959 East Jefferson, Suite 4H

Detroit, MI  48207


Patrick Szymanski

Baptiste & Wilder

1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20036

Stand Up for Teamsters Slate

c/o Leroy Ellis, Jr.

10733 South Western Avenue

Chicago, IL  60643


Ron Carey Campaign

c/o Nathaniel K. Charny

Cohen, Weiss & Simon

330 West 42nd Street

New York, NY  10036

Hoffa 96 Campaign

November 29, 1996

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Re:  Election Office Case No. P-1267-EOH-PNJ




A preelection protest was filed on November 18, 1996, pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules), by Attorney Patrick J. Szymanski, on behalf of the Jim Hoffa-No Dues Increase-25 & Out Slate.  The protest alleges a number of problems caused by the acts or omissions of the Office of the Election Officer concerning the mailing and return of ballots.  The specific problems alleged and the results of the Election Officer's inquiry are detailed below.


The protest was investigated by Regional Coordinator Peter V. Marks, Sr.


1.              Ballots not mailed to members of certain employers


The protester asserts that the members of Local Union 847 who work for three employers have not received ballot packages:  Maple Leaf Gardens (50 IBT members), Greater Toronto Towing Association (100 IBT members), and Acan Windows (60 IBT members).  According to the protest, it is "well known that the members of Local 847 overwhelmingly


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November 29, 1996

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support Mr. Hoffa's candidacy."


The Election Officers investigation indicates that members at each of these employers were mailed ballots in the initial ballot mailing on November 7, 1996 as follows:  521 members at Maple Leaf Gardens; 72 members at Greater Toronto Towing Association; and 89 members at Acan


As part of the preparation for mailing the ballots, the Election Officer and the IBT sent notices to all local union TITAN operators as to the importance of updating the addresses of members in their local unions by October 14, 1996.  This date was referenced so that the mailing list printed on October 20, 1996 would contain the best address information for the greatest number of IBT members. 


In the case of the employers referenced by the protester, the address listed by the local union in TITAN at the time the mailing list was extracted appears to have been incorrect for a number of members.  The Election Officer has planned for this eventuality and has a remail operation.   The Election Officer has banked in a database better addresses she has received for members from employers or local unions.  This includes addresses provided after the mailing list was printed on October 20, 1996.  When a ballot package has been returned as undeliverable, the Election Office staff determines if there is an alternative address that has been banked for the member.  If there is, the ballot package is remailed to the member at the alternate address.  Additionally, any member calling into the toll-free line operated by the Election Officer indicating that he or she has not received a ballot, and who gives an address different from the one on the original mailing list, will be mailed a ballot.  


The investigation revealed that the 521 employees of Maple Leaf Gardens are listed under four different employer codes.  For one of these codes listing 50 members, a high percentage of  the addresses on the mailing list were incorrect.  As of November 21, 1996, 25 of these ballots had been returned to the Election Officer as undeliverable.  Also as of that date, however, the Election Office had received alternative addresses for 16 of these 25 members and was able to remail the ballots to those addresses.  Similarly, as of November 21, 1996, 11 of the ballots mailed to Acan employees had been returned as undeliverable.  The Election Office had alternative addresses for 9 of these and remailed them to those addresses.


With respect to Greater Toronto Towing Association (GTTA), Election Office representatives had been in contact with Local Union 857 personnel in September 1996 after a review of the mailing list indicated that most members in this employer code had the same address as GTTA.  The Election Officer has adopted a policy that ballots should not be sent to members at the address of their employers or their local unions because of the opportunity for interference or coercion.  Therefore, where the Election Officer was able to determine, prior to mailing the ballots, that a significant number of members had their address listed as the local union or employer, contact was made with the local union to seek home addresses for such members or, if no such address was available, to leave the address field blank or state Need address.  If this is done, the ballot should be returned as undeliverable giving the Election Office an opportunity to remail it to a home address that has been identified since the original mailing.

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Based on this procedure, in September 1996, Regional Coordinator Gwen Randall informed Local Union 847 that home addresses should be identified and placed in TITAN for members whose addresses were listed at GTTA.  If no such address could be identified, the local union was instructed to delete the employer address.


The investigation revealed that 51 ballots were sent to members at the address of GTTA, indicating that the local union had not changed all the records at the time the mailing list was prepared.  As of November 21, 1996, the Election Office had received 6 ballots for members in this employer code which had Need Address listed in the address field.  The Election Officer had alternative addresses for two of these individuals and these were remailed.


The protest also alleges that none of the approximately 60 IBT members of Local Union 879 who work at Columbia Chemicals has received a ballot and that the members of that local "are known to overwhelmingly support Mr. Hoffa's candidacy."  The Election Officers records show that 63 ballots were mailed to IBT members employed by Columbia Chemicals.  As of November 21, 1996, none of these ballots had been logged as returned as undeliverable.  As of this date, the Election Officers records show no phone activity indicating members employed at Columbia Chemicals had not received ballots.


In the course of this investigation Election Office representative Peter V. Marks, Sr. spoke to Attorney Szymanski as well as several stewards representing the facilities involved in the protest. He reminded each of them that any member who did not receive a ballot should call the Election Officer's toll-free number.  The toll-free number, set forth on the Notice of Election published in the magazine and at posted on local union bulletin boards at IBT work sites, is the mechanism established by the Election Officer to address the type of concern raised by this protest.  The remail process by which undeliverables are re-sent to available alternative addresses for members is also designed to get ballots to IBT members not receiving them in the initial mailing. 


The Election Officer is satisfied that the procedures established for sending ballots to members comport with the Rules and allows any member who has not received a ballot because of an incorrect address (or for any other reason) to contact the Election Officer and receive a ballot in a timely manner.


2.              No ballot contained in ballot packages


The protest claims that several members of Local Union 647 have reported that they did not receive ballots in their ballot packages and asserts that this is another local union  where the members strongly support Mr. Hoffa.


As described in Hoffa 96 Campaign, P-1233-LU362-CAN (November 19, 1996), a very small number of IBT members reported receiving ballot packages without a ballot inside. It was determined that the problem was being remedied by the established procedures of the Election Officer, specifically the toll-free number for members to call to receive a ballot.


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As of November 18, 1996 four IBT members from Local 647 had called the toll-free number stating that their ballot packages did not contain a ballot.  A new ballot mailing was promptly processed for each of them.


Under the procedures of the Election Office members are afforded an opportunity to vote in a timely manner.  No violations of the Rules has occurred.


3.              Return post office address for Canadian ballots


The protester states that the return address for ballots from members of Teamsters Canada, as printed on the business reply envelope, is incorrectly listed as 7772 Dovercourt Road instead of 772 Dovercourt Road.  The protester is concerned that ballots are being sent to a nonexistent address.


The Election Officer learned of the typographical error prior to the filing of this protest.  Apparently, the Canadian postal service reformatted the return address and added the   extra 7 to the street address sent to Data Business Forms, Ltd., the printer/mailhouse for Canadian ballots, without notifying the Election Officers representative.  Upon learning of this error, the Election Officer immediately investigated to determine what, if any, affect the extra 7 in the street address could have on the prompt return of Canadian ballots.


The investigation revealed that this error is not material as mail is directed to a post office box at Toronto Postal Station E at a Canadian postal code.  The post office box, the postal station and the postal code (similar to U.S. zip code) are correct and determine the routing of mail.  Canadian postal authorities have assured the Election Office in writing that the street address is not relevant to the routing of this mail and that all mail will be returned to the correct Toronto post office without delay. 


The records to date show that substantial numbers of ballots from members of Teamsters Canada are being delivered to the Election Officer.  The Election Officer finds that the error in the street address has not affected the return of ballots to the appropriate post office, and there has been no violation of the Rules.


4.                Ballots returned to sender


The protest asserts that "numerous members in Texas and Florida" reported that their completed ballots had been returned to sender by the postal service.  According to the protest, one member who called on the toll-free line was told by the Election Officer's representative that they had received "hundreds of calls making the same complaint.              


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The investigation showed that on November 15, 1996, prior to the filing of the protest, the Election Officer learned that some members from Local Union 528 were receiving their voted ballots back from the postal service facility in Valdosta, Georgia.  A second call came to the attention of the Election Officer on November 18, 1996 from Tony Cannestro, president of Local 769 in Miami, Florida who had contacted Regional Coordinator J. Griffin Morgan after receiving two calls from members complaining of ballot return envelopes being returned to voters.  One of the calls referred to in the protest came to Mr. Cannestro.  The protester also directed the investigator to T. C. Stone, a member of Local Union 745 and a candidate for International Regional Vice president.  Mr. Stone states that he received four calls from members with this problem.


Discussions with the postal service revealed that, due to age, the postal service's automated sorting equipment used in a few locations may at times read the bar code on the voter's return address as belonging to the addressee, leading to the ballot package being mailed back to the voter.  Based on instructions received by the postal service, the Election Office has instructed its operators to tell the voter to obscure all or part of the bar code on the members return address, and to put an "X" through the return address while insuring that it is otherwise legible.  The postal service states that the effect of these markings will be to prevent the envelope from being successfully mailed by machine, forcing a postal employee to manually inspect the envelope and presumably direct it to the addressee, not the returnee.


In addition to the instructions given by the Election Office operators, the Election Officer provided a notice to Local Union 769 and to Mr. Stone which they could post, explaining how to mark the business reply envelope to insure that they are mailed to the return address of the Election Officer.


Contrary to the claims of the protester that this return of ballots is a widespread problem, the Election Officers telephone records show this to be an isolated problem, again handled effectively through the toll-free number of the Election Officer.  The claim that an Election Officer operator stated that the Election Office had received hundreds of such calls was not substantiated by the investigation.   Mr. Cannestro initially stated that he was told by IBT member Karen Sargent that the Election Officer operator on the toll-free number told her that hundreds of calls had been received about this problem.  Ms. Sargent's call was logged in the Election Officer computer.  The operator who logged that call remembered the conversation, and stated that she never said that the Election Officer was receiving hundreds of complaints about this problem.  Mr. Cannestro now says that he believes there was a misunderstanding by Ms. Sargent about the number of complaints supposedly received by the Election Officer concerning this problem.


The investigation further indicates that as of November 27, 1996 the boiler room had logged over 9500 telephone calls.  As of this date, only 18 calls had been lodged in regard to this problem.  Such calls have been specifically logged as of November 18, 1996, although a canvas of boiler room operators about prior calls on this issue indicates such calls were not received in significant numbers.


5.               Post Office Record on Returned Ballots


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The protest contains a comment that the Election Officer has refused "for no apparent reason" to provide observers with the number of envelopes recorded each day by the postal service.  The Election Office representatives each day pick up the return envelopes containing ballots at the Bethesda, Maryland post office.  As part of the pickup, Election Officer representatives receive the postal service's receipt for the business reply envelopes for that day.  The receipt provided by the postal service does not include a count.  Moreover, the postal service determines the cost based on the weight of the return envelopes, not an actual count.


The Election Officer does not regard the bill from the post office as an accurate or reliable count of ballots returned, and did not treat the receipt as a disclosable item.  During the mail pickup on the first day, one observer asked to see the receipt, stating that it was shown to all observers in 1991.  The Election Officer investigated and concluded that while there was no official policy in 1991, the postal service receipt was apparently shown to observers at least on an ad hoc basis. 


As of November 19, 1996, the Election Office representatives have, upon request, shown the receipt to any candidate observer who so requests, with the caveat that the number is the postal service's approximation of how many return envelopes are paid for and is not an accurate or verified count of ballots actually received.


6.              Bias by the Election Officer


In protesting the alleged failure of the Election Officer to send ballots to members employed by particular employers within certain local unions, the protester implies that such conduct was based upon the knowledge that members at these local unions overwhelmingly support Mr. Hoffas candidacy.


The Election Officer rejects the claim of bias in the treatment of members at any local union.  The protester has failed to present any evidence that the manner of handling the ballot mailing for the local unions or the employers named in the protest involved bias on the part of the Election Officer or her representatives.  The mailing process and the remail to alternative address operation, as well as all procedures of the Election Office, function on the basis of protocols that are uniform, not on the basis of the perceived political support for particular candidates within certain local unions.


  There is no evidence that members have failed to receive ballots due to any lack of care or disregard of the Rules, or that any person has violated the Rules.  For the above reasons, the protest is DENIED.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one day of receipt of this letter.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Officer in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing and shall be served on:


Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY 10022

Fax (212) 751-4864

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Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 400 N. Capitol Street, Suite 855, Washington, D.C. 20001, Facsimile (202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.






Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer



cc:               Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master

Peter V. Marks, Sr., Regional Coordinator